Defending state champion West Lafayette to rely on chemistry in 2019

Since taking over the West Lafayette football program in 2013, Shane Fry has lost just 12 games. He's won 68. The biggest of those wins came last November when the Red Devils defeated Evansville Memorial to capture the Class 3A state title.

Posted: Aug 10, 2019 7:34 PM
Updated: Aug 10, 2019 7:35 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Since taking over the West Lafayette football program in 2013, Shane Fry has lost just 12 games.

He's won 68.

The biggest of those wins came last November when the Red Devils defeated Evansville Memorial to capture the Class 3A state title.

That happened two days after Thanksgiving. Now we're in August.

While Fry and West Lafayette have moved forward, several impactful players from that state championship team have moved on.

George Karlaftis is playing at Purdue. Tavion Woodard is at Ball State. Kyle Hazell signed with Dayton and Seif Benjamia took his talents to Olivet Nazarene.

Those four individuals are playing college football. We haven't even mentioned Sage Hood, RJ Erb and Joey Kidwell graduated.

The Red Devils experience a lot of turnover from 2018 but the team returns quarterback Kyle Adams, a James Madison commitment, wide receiver Harrison Truitt, a Miami of Ohio pledge and Yanni Karlaftis. The junior linebacker Karlaftis holds offers from Purdue, Ohio State and Michigan among others.

Don't count out West Lafayette in 2019.

The Red Devils will look different from a season ago but group feels on the same page.

"There's a lot of chemistry starting from the seniors all the way down to the freshman," said Adams. "It seems like everyone is really equal on this team. We're all in it as a whole and obviously last year we had a lot of good chemistry but I felt like the talent was what kind of made up for that."

Adams isn't the only returning starter who feels the cohesiveness.

"For a lack of talent we have a lot of discipline and effort," said senior linebacker Lamont Johnson. "We're going to show this year that it doesn't really matter how much talent you have to have on the team. It matters how much you have to work together for one solid goal."

West Lafayette's goal to repeat as state champions begins on August 23 at 6A Lafayette Jeff. The Red Devils defeated the Bronchos 38-29 last fall.

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